verb ini·ti·ate \i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt\

: to cause the beginning of (something) : to start or begin (something)

: to formally accept (someone) as a member of a group or organization usually in a special ceremony

: to teach (someone) the basic facts or ideas about something


Full Definition of INITIATE

transitive verb
:  to cause or facilitate the beginning of :  set going <initiate a program of reform> <enzymes that initiate fermentation>
:  to induct into membership by or as if by special rites
:  to instruct in the rudiments or principles of something :  introduce
ini·ti·a·tor \-ˌā-tər\ noun

Examples of INITIATE

  1. Doctors have initiated a series of tests to determine the cause of the problem.
  2. The company initiated judicial proceedings against them.
  3. The new recruits will be initiated tomorrow night.
  4. He was initiated into a secret society.

Origin of INITIATE

Late Latin initiatus, past participle of initiare, from Latin, to induct, from initium
First Known Use: 1533

Synonym Discussion of INITIATE

begin, commence, start, initiate, inaugurate, usher in mean to take the first step in a course, process, or operation. begin , start , and commence are often interchangeable. begin, opposed to end, is the most general <begin a trip> <began dancing>. start, opposed to stop, applies especially to first actions, steps, or stages <the work started slowly>. commence can be more formal or bookish than begin or start <commence firing> <commenced a conversation>. initiate implies taking a first step in a process or series that is to continue <initiated diplomatic contacts>. inaugurate suggests a beginning of some formality or notion of significance <the discovery of penicillin inaugurated a new era in medicine>. usher in is somewhat less weighty than inaugurate <ushered in a period of economic decline>.

Rhymes with INITIATE

abbreviate, abominate, accelerate, accentuate, accommodate, acculturate, accumulate, adjudicate, adulterate, affiliate, agglomerate, alienate, alleviate, alliterate, amalgamate, ameliorate, amyl nitrate, annihilate, annunciate, anticipate, apostolate, appreciate, appropriate, approximate, arpeggiate, articulate, asphyxiate, assassinate, asseverate, assimilate, associate, at any rate, attenuate, authenticate, barbiturate, bicarbonate, calumniate, capacitate, capitulate, catholicate, certificate, coagulate, coelenterate, collaborate, commemorate, commiserate, communicate, compassionate, concatenate, conciliate, confabulate, confederate, conglomerate, congratulate, consolidate, contaminate, cooperate, coordinate, corroborate, deactivate, debilitate, decapitate, decelerate, decerebrate, deconcentrate, deconsecrate, decorticate, decrepitate, de-escalate, defibrinate, defoliate, degenerate, deliberate, delineate, demodulate, denominate, depopulate, depreciate, deracinate, deregulate, desegregate, desiderate, detoxicate, devaluate, diaconate, dilapidate, discriminate, disintegrate, disseminate, dissimulate, dissociate, domesticate, effectuate, ejaculate, elaborate, electroplate, eliminate, elucidate, emaciate, emancipate, emasculate, encapsulate, enumerate, enunciate, episcopate, equivocate, eradicate, etiolate, evacuate, evaluate, evaporate, eventuate, eviscerate, exacerbate, exaggerate, exasperate, excited state, excogitate, excoriate, exfoliate, exhilarate, exonerate, expatiate, expatriate, expectorate, expostulate, expropriate, extenuate, exterminate, extrapolate, facilitate, felicitate, fish or cut bait, garrison state, gesticulate, habilitate, habituate, hallucinate, humiliate, hydrogenate, hypothecate, illuminate, impersonate, inactivate, inaugurate, incarcerate, incinerate, incorporate, incriminate, indoctrinate, inebriate, infatuate, infuriate, ingratiate, ingurgitate, inoculate, inseminate, insinuate, instantiate, intercalate, interpolate, interrelate, interrogate, intimidate, intoxicate, invalidate, investigate, invigorate, irradiate, Italianate, Korea Strait, lanceolate, legitimate, luxuriate, mandarinate, manipulate, matriarchate, matriculate, Merthiolate, necessitate, negotiate, noncandidate, obliterate, officiate, Orange Free State, orientate, originate, oxygenate, participate, particulate, patriarchate, patriciate, perambulate, peregrinate, perpetuate, pontificate, precipitate, predestinate, predominate, prefabricate, premeditate, preponderate, prevaricate, procrastinate, prognosticate, proliferate, propitiate, proportionate, quadruplicate, quintuplicate, reciprocate, recriminate, recuperate, redecorate, reduplicate, reeducate, refrigerate, regenerate, regurgitate, reincarnate, reintegrate, reiterate, rejuvenate, remunerate, repatriate, repudiate, resuscitate, retaliate, reticulate, revaluate, reverberate, scholasticate, second estate, self-flagellate, self-immolate, self-pollinate, seventy-eight, sextuplicate, Singapore Strait, sophisticate, subordinate, substantiate, syllabicate, tergiversate, transliterate, triangulate, vanity plate, variegate, vaticinate, vituperate, vociferate


adjective ini·tiate \i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət\

Definition of INITIATE

a :  initiated or properly admitted (as to membership or an office)
b :  instructed in some secret knowledge
obsolete :  relating to an initiate

First Known Use of INITIATE



noun ini·tiate \i-ˈni-sh(ē-)ət\

: a person who is being formally accepted or who has been formally accepted as a member of a group or organization

Full Definition of INITIATE

:  a person who is undergoing or has undergone an initiation
:  a person who is instructed or adept in some special field

Examples of INITIATE

  1. These secrets are known only to a small group of initiates.

First Known Use of INITIATE

INITIATE Defined for Kids


verb ini·ti·ate \i-ˈni-shē-ˌāt\

Definition of INITIATE for Kids

:  to set going :  begin <Scientists initiated an experiment.>
:  to admit into a club by special ceremonies
:  to teach (someone) the basic facts about something <She was initiated into the management of money.>


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